Time is ticking. The information age is relentless in commoditizing your business and your job. It may not be right now, but it is happening. It is easier than ever to:
- Get music when we want it
- Have on-demand legal services
- Order anything in our underwear and have it tomorrow
- Access higher learning education
- Find a better insurance plan
- Start a business
- Shop for a new job
- Find new friends
Information and information systems drive commoditization. If you can take out the inefficiencies of distribution, then you become cheaper. Someone else can get the product or service to customers easier at less cost.
Amazon became our online Wal-mart this way. LegalZoom commoditized many attorney services. Craigslist put newspaper classifieds out of business.
It’s a revolution that hit some industries earlier than others. Yours may have delayed because people like doing things the old way. However, once the dinosaurs die out and the suction of change envelops your niche, your value may not be what it once was.
If you keep playing according to the old rules that prospered you without considering the possibility of change, then you might wake up one day wondering where your cash or your job went. The world commoditized you.
So how do you increase your value to protect yourself against commoditization? It comes down to the uniqueness and scarcity of something. Here are some things that fit the bill:
- Ideas that work
- Talent that is hard to replicate
- Wow presentations
- Majority market share
Being first at something helps. If you have invested years understanding a market, then you have a head start to innovate. You can increase your value by upgrading the product. Better yet, upgrade yourself. Bring bigger ideas that are current to your customers. Repackage the old. Create vehicles for connection and collaboration in your service and product.
I don’t think you have to wait around for the denouement and surrender to commoditization. Transform your business into an idea machine rather than a mere factory that outputs the mundane. Use your factory to bring your ideas to the world.
If you don’t, you will be hating yourself later. With millions of people out there with the same tools and access to the world at large, someone is knocking you down the rungs of commoditization, otherwise.
What can you do to increase your value now?